in Hoi An of course.
The first of two confirmations tonight came from Hoi An Town, which is quite a famous location. The town is perceived as a living monument to a traditional lifestyle dating back 400 years ago, based on the excellent preservation of all structures and minimal encroachment of modernization as noted by UNESCO World Heritage.
We are going to spend seven nights in a small family run hotel called Thien Thanh Hotel, it is a reasonably priced $25US per night all in, including breakfast. We will stay in the Superior room as it is a bit larger but more importantly it has a balcony that looks out over a rice paddy and should be a bit quieter (though I did see on reviewer mention the frogs at night, haha). Speaking of reviews with nearly 50 reviews on this hotel on TripAdvisor which is an awful lot of reviews for one hotel, the majority are all five thumbs up with nothing under four thumbs - I've never seen that kind of positive response from such a wide range of guests - nice!
Dalat or Da Lat, is called the jewel of the Central Highlands. It has a pleasant year-round temperature kind of like the early part of a Cdn summer. It is set in a mountainous region, with lots of lakes and forests and is considered to be the fruit and vegetable "breadbasket" for Vietnam. At the end of the 1800's a protege of Louis Pasteur helped to establish the mountain station retreat. The area became popular with Europeans trying to escape the lowland heat and this led to the construction of approx 2500 chalet-like villas. Not only is Dalat scenic, it has a lot to offer in the way of outdoor activity - read rock climbing, trekking and most importantly... serious mountain biking. I hope to get a fix on some hardcore singletrack up in the mountains, how great would that be! We are now booked in for seven nights at Dreams Hotel (sorry no photos) which gets good reviews from Lonely Planet, etc. I just got off the phone with the hotel and we are paying $17US per night all in, including breakfast (Evan and Keegan are being charged $1US each for breakfast, fantastic, Keegan can spill at least $1.00 worth of breakfast cereal at home and Pico is pretty quick to lick it all up) apparently they do the best breakfast in Vietnam. No matter what Dalat has to offer, it will also act as a gateway to check out the surrounding area and hopefully some respectful observation of the many hill tribes in the Central Highlands.
So that's 28 nights covered, which leaves me to follow up on the three night Saigon hotel choice (I have the hotel figured out now I just have to get the right price), the Hanoi choice (still figuring out the right hotel for us) and the Halong Bay piece. Like a well oiled machine...
Rode with Shawn for a couple of hours on the bike paths tonight. It was pretty cold, approx -1 Celsius but great to be riding with him. Did some hills but nothing too hammerfest-ish. Shawn is throwing in some good trg hours, I better keep my eye on him or he will crush me like a bug when I get back from Vietnam. ;-)
in Hoi An of course.